Published 10/04/12

The last house in Randolph

Lecturer Thom Bassett’s latest contribution to “Disunion,” the New York Times’ series examining the Civil War, focuses on General Sherman’s orders to destroy Randolph, Tenn., in the fall of 1862.

Sherman had a "reputation as an unrelenting scourge of Southerners in the last year of the war" Bassett notes, but the general's plans "did not include the wholesale destruction of Southern towns when he became military governor of Memphis on July 21, 1862. ... Perhaps surprisingly, Sherman tried to revitalize the moribund river town and secure the well-being of its 23,000 inhabitants."

But persistent guerrilla attacks on Union troops changed his mind. As punishment, Sherman "imposed collective punishment," including the  destruction of Randolph.

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